The 2020 NFL season looked very different due to unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, but don't expect things to return to normal in 2021 just because fans will (hopefully) be back in the stands. Earlier this week, the NFL announced that owners approved to add a 17th game to the schedule, and that it would begin this upcoming season.
The NFL will be expanding its regular season for the first time since 1978, and it was a change we knew was coming since it was a part of the new collective bargaining agreement -- but that doesn't mean every player is thrilled about the decision. New Orleans Saints star running back Alvin Kamara was one of the players who blasted the decision when it was first reported, along with defensive backs Adrian Amos and Darius Slay. While they may dislike the change, all NFL players will have to learn to adapt moving forward.
On Thursday, one of the NFL's biggest stars in Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes sat down for an interview with Yahoo Finance, and when asked about the new schedule, he didn't take the opportunity to attack the league. Instead, Mahomes said he's focused on getting his body ready for this new reality with an extra regular-season game.
"I mean obviously it'll be different and it'll be something that we'll have to adjust to," Mahomes told Yahoo Finance Presents. "But it's something that we had talked about in the collective bargaining agreement. Whatever your beliefs are you got to go out there and adjust, and do whatever you can to be the best football player you can be every single day. I'll be trying to figure out ways to take care of my body more and more, so you can adjust your body for a 17 game regular season."
The Super Bowl LIV MVP knows just how drastically injuries can affect the outcome of games and your season at large, and adding another contest to the schedule adds another week where your team has to fight through injuries and put their bodies at risk. The big reason an extra game was agreed to by owners was because it means more revenue. As John Breech of CBS Sports explains, adding one more week of football was a big reason why the NFL was able to cash in during the most recent round of media negotiations.
While players will get some of that extra revenue, that's not enough to satisfy many of them when it comes to having to suit up an extra Sunday per year. Still, Mahomes says he's already focusing on how to prepare for this new challenge.
"You'll have to change your day-to-day work, work ethic, work involvement and how much you're going to put on your body every single day because you want to be in that Super Bowl again and you want to be playing for a championship and you want to make sure your body can take the workload of that and adding in another game is adding more to your body. So you have to make sure that you're prepared."